Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas means family and fun!

The Holiday season in the Rahn house is always fun and you never know what will happen.  This year held true to being full of surprises and adventure. 

One of the highlights of our Rahn Holiday season is the new additions to our "Funky Monkey Band" as the girls and Don have so named it.  This is an obnoxious collection of Holiday noisemakers - or cute, little, dancing creatures of all sizes and types. :)
Here is our collection so far:
And new this year...the girls made a movie of their favorites for all to share and enjoy (and by enjoy, I mean listen to OVER and OVER again as they got it just right).

Our big festivities started with the annual cutting down of our Christmas tree.  We always wait until after Don's birthday (Dec. 7) and then head out to Snicker's Gap Tree Farm to find the "perfect tree."  The girl's love the adventure and running through the hills and hills of trees until we spot IT!

This year a new highlight of our tree adventure was "Stump Standing."  Leave it to Don Rahn to find fun and make a new game anywhere we go...

Then IT appeared and we had to being the job of cutting it down...both girls helped and soon our Tree of 2011 was being dragged through the hills and valleys back to our car.

 It wouldn't be Christmas without the Annual Dogs In Front of the Tree pictures:

Then comes Christmas Eve and the family pics in front of the tree:

 Junior is not moving until Santa gets here...
Christmas morning brings early risers, presents at our house and then....
off we go to Rocky and Rina's house for our BIG family Christmas!  We are usually on the road to find the family before 7:30 a.m. and this year was no different.  It helps that the girls are usually up at 5:00 waiting for us to go see what Santa has brought.....
 Yep, they are up early and very excited...but crash on the short drive to Ashburn...
Christmas with Virginia family is always crazy. This year we all gathered in Ashburn at Laura's parents house...those present incuded - 4 Rahns, 2 Bernardos, 2 Wests, Rosie, Chrissy, Gwen and Dave and Jen.  Lots of fun.....

Katie was thrilled to receive her own set of pink cooking utensils and a shirt to match.

Carleigh loved her new cell phone:
But the highlight of the gifts was when Rina received a case of A&W Root Beer from Lily and Junior.  There's a long back-story there that makes the moment even funnier....

Don also LOVED his new sweatshirt:

The highlight of our Christmas time together is not the gifts, but the fun times with family and we had our share on Christmas Day.

After a full Christmas Day - we usually head back to Purcellville to pack up and head to Erie on the 26th to spend time with Don's family.  Don, Carleigh and Katie headed north this year and I stayed back for dog duty.

They definitely had an equal amount of crazy fun up in Erie.

So...the Christmas fun has come and gone. 

We are looking forward to what 2012 has in store for us.  Vacation planning is in full swing and some new trips are popping up as I type. The January calendar has been filled in and the days are busy with basketball, dance, piano, and Annie rehearsals.

So....Seldom A Dull Moment continues as the new year approaches!! 
Happy New Year!

Stay tuned as Junior and I continue to plan our new adventures...

Friday, December 9, 2011

Fun...Fun...and more Fun! I think.....

Fun...I just read Gretchen Rubin's Happiness Blog (The 3 kinds of fun) and it got me thinking about what kind of fun my family has. I've always thought of having fun as just that....having fun!  You smile, you laugh, you enjoy yourself and you have fun.  After reading this, I've realized that we have all different kinds of fun in my house. My family definitely has their share of fun!

She explains the 3 kinds of fun as:
Challenging fun - "Challenging fun takes patience, time, energy, perseverance, and a long time horizon."

Accommodating fun - "Accommodating fun takes a lot of energy, organization, coordination with other people, and, well, accommodation."

Relaxing fun - "Relaxing fun is practically effortless.Relaxing fun is relaxing. It takes little energy. You don’t have to hone skills or take much action. There’s very little coordination with other people or preparation involved."

I initially thought that relaxing fun would be the best kind, but when I am having relaxing fun...I usually fall asleep or get bored. I am doing something for me and only me, that involves no effort or watching TV or reading a book. It's great, but I get little satisfaction from it.

I never thought I'd be analyzing fun, but to sit back and look at your family and think about these things really can bring some joy to your crazy life.  We all need a little joy right now!

So let's look at some Rahn fun over the past few weeks:

My trip to NYC with my mom and sister: definitely accommodating fun....I had a blast, but it was a challenge to get motivated - and I did it (initially) more for my mom and sister, but as it got closer I was as excited as they were. When it was all done and over, and I was back in Purcellville, I was so happy.  I had great memories with my mom and sister and a great day to do things for me.  Would I have chosen to do this and plan it? Nope.....but it was so worth it afterwards.

Getting the new puppy: I think that would be a mix of challenging fun and accommodating fun.  We are not choosing to get less sleep; we are not necessarily wanting to constantly be entertaining an almost 5 month old puppy, but he brings us joy.  We do these things and we laugh, and we smile and we share in the craziness that this puppy brings to our house.  The challenging part is finding new and creative ways to entertain him and wear him out; finding ways to keep him calm while in the house.  Don is doing most of this work, but the fun is being felt by all of us. When Junior is finally worn out and sleeping, the feeling of achievement makes it all worthwhile and makes us happy!

Zumba: I'm trying to do a Zumba class once a week with teachers from school.  I would call this challenging fun.  I think of all the other things that have to get done, but then when I make time to go to this class, I have FUN!  Learning the moves, keeping up with the instructor are all huge challenges, but when the hour class is over, I feel a sense of accomplishment and I'm happy!

Sitting in front of the computer: for me this is my relaxing fun...I have my favorite websites that I visit. I catch up on Facebook.  I research vacations. I learn about new technology projects. I network with other teachers around the world.  To me, this is relaxing.  This is my mindless time. I'm doing it for me and only me.

Planning Vacations: definitely challenging fun....trying to find the right hotel, airfare, adventures, restaurants. I love it and love the satisfaction that comes when the big vacation finally happens.

All of the upcoming Holiday festivities: Fun, Fun, Fun...we've got family parties, friend parties, Christmas shopping, more decorating, tree trimming, cookie making, wrapping presents, waiting for Santa, and the list goes on. A lot of people look at those activities as "chores."  I love every one of them.  Do they make me tired?  Do I get a little stressed? Do I wish I had more time to get everything done? Do I feel challenged and like I am working to accommodate other people?

You betcha...but as Gretchen Rubin says, "Challenging fun and accommodating fun, over the long term, bring more happiness, because they're sources of those elements that make people happiest..." 

So, rather than relax and find time for just myself, I shall embrace the craziness and be happy!

Will you join me in looking at the chaos of the holiday season as a good thing, and go forth and create your own challenging and accommodating fun?

Until our next crazy Rahn adventure, have a great few weeks and hope for snow!!

Stay tuned for more as our holiday festivities continue...